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Sep 30,2010 AquaPure:Installation...

Originally, we had the Aqua-Pure faucet installation scheduled for later in the month. Our plans got shuffled a bit and a slot opened up unexpectedly. Never wanting to let an opportunity to get their hands dirty pass by, the interns convinced us to move the Aqua-Pure project up the queue and get it done.

We decided to install the Aqua-Pure AP Easy because it was both the more advanced of the two systems and its appeared simpler to set up. There were three basic steps to the installation: mount the filter head, attach the cold water feed, affix the faucet. The kit was designed to minimize the tools required for installation. In fact, all we needed was a... [more]-AquaPure: Installation


Sep 29,2010 AquaPure:Water Filtration Systems...

The "new" sink we installed in the RainyDayKitchen at the beginning of the month is working out great. Unlike the old porcelain sink, the stainless steel sink had three pre-cut openings for things like a soap, instant hot water, or a filtered-water dispenser. We had asked RainyDay readers which project would be of the most interest. The installation of an under-sink water filtration/purification system was the clear preference and the systems mentioned most often by name was Aqua-Pure by 3M. So today, we are going to take a FirstLook at the AP-DWS1000 and AP Easy from Aqua-Pure. Later in October, we'll show you how easy it is to install one of these under-sink systems.

While many may recognize 3M as the maker of Scotch Tape and Post-it Notes, they are actually much bigger than just those two brands. 3M is a hugely diversified technology company with a global presence in electronic, health care, home, office, and many other sectors. With 100+ years of history and over $20B in annual sales, when 3M purchased CUNO in 2005, they acquired a company with a leadership position in water filtration and purification. CUNO's (now 3M) Aqua-Pure Water System is typically used in the kitchen to... [more]-AquaPure: FirstLook


Sep 28,2010 - Front Porch: Painting...

While some of us were busy cleaning up the garden, others were busy putting the finishing touches on the front porch. The weather was mostly cooperative. Saturday got a bit warm (high 80's), but that was helpful because everything dried really quickly. We managed to get two coats on the porch floor before the day was through.

We did all of the painting with just brushes (two 4" brushes, one 2" brush, one 1" brush). At first we thought it would be slow, but it was actually a lot quicker than expected. Rollers are great for flat walls and ceiling, but a brush is much better for surfaces with gaps (decks) and... [more]-Front Porch: Painting


Sep 27,2010 - Fiskars: Fall Cleanup Gear...

The cooler and drier Fall weather is not only great for outdoor projects, it is also a signal for the leaves on the trees to change color. This annual "event" is so spectacular that folks from all over come to New England to see the change. While everybody loves a party, when it is over, it is the host who has to clean up. The Fall clean up is a chore which can be made a lot more pleasant with the right tools.

We have always known that Fiskars makes great scissors. A few years ago, we discovered they also have an excellent line of pruners and loppers for gardeners. When we went looking for tools to help with our Fall cleanup, we were happy to find that Fiskars has some great gear designed to make the task easier. Tree pruners, rakes, and cleanup bags, they have 'em all and more. These Fiskars gear are not just "me-too" products. They have been rethought, reworked, and... [more]-Fiskars: Fall Cleanup Gear


Sep 24,2010 - MFA: Scaasi...

Arnold Scaasi has been creating haute couture for the likes of Barbra Streisand, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Ivana Trump, and others for over fifty years. Women with means, those in the public eye, or ones on the world stage would often look to Scaasi to help them create their public images. Whether it be an elegant evening gown, a cocktail dress, or a tailored suit, Scaasi's custom-made clothing were powerful statements for women with personalities large enough to match.

At the beginning of August the MFA opened the first of their fashion-related exhibit (Avedon Fashion 1944-2000). On September 25th the second exhibit, Scaasi: American Couturier, opens to the public. "Scaasi is a fashion legend who has created some of the 20th century's most glamorous clothing," said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the MFA. "We are... [more]-MFA: Scaasi Exhibit


Sep 23,2010 - Front Porch...

The front steps to the RainyDayMagazine office was repaired a few years ago. We probably should have repainted the entire front porch at that time, but other projects took precedent. Three years later, things have gotten to a state where we could not put it off any longer. Fall is an excellent time for painting. The temperature is cooler, the air drier, but there's still plenty of daylight. We checked the weather forecast. As rain was not on the horizon for the week, we pulled the trigger on the project.

As anyone who has taken on a painting project knows, much of the hard work is in the preparation step: cleaning, scraping, priming. To quickly remove the paint from the already peeling spots, we used a... [more]-Front Porch :Scrape and Prime

Sep 22,2010 - Kodak Pulse InTheWild...

After a month of living with the Kodak Pulse, we can say it is the best photo frame we have in the office. That is saying a lot, as we really like both the Parrot and the Ceiva digital frames.

There are a few reasons why we like the Pulse so much. The usability folks at Kodak have done an excellent job making the Pulse simple to setup and a pleasure to use. The icons are easy to figure out. The context-sensitive touchscreen controls make navigating around really intuitive. We like the multi-photo display mode (first we have seen in any digital frame) and hope... [more]-Kodak Pulse:InTheWild


Sep 21,2010 - Boogie Board...

Liquid Crystals (LC) used in LCD panels were first discovered in the late 1800s. They were interesting because the crystals will align themselves in the direction of a magnetic field. Display makers have used this property in combination with polarizing filters to make LC pixels "appear" or "disappear" to form an image on the screen. However, liquid crystals have many other interesting properties, one of which is cleverly used by Improv Electronics to make a product which may someday replace the paper pad.

When we first saw the price ($30) of the Boogie Board, we were intrigued. We knew this was not an LCD panel, an ePaper display, or something which could be made into a monitor. We were interested because... [more]-Boogie Board


Sep 20,2010 - iPad Stands : Best Of Breed...

We have been using our iPad extensively since April: emailing, googling, mapping, movie watching, and general web-surfing. We have taken it on trips in place of our laptop. We have used it as an eReader for books, magazines, graphic novels, and everything else we could think of. After five months of intense usage, we have learned a few things. It is clear that iPads will someday replace laptops, but not yet. The iPad is a good eReader now, but its potential has barely been scratched. The iPad is excellent for watching movies anywhere as long as you don't have to hold it the entire time ...which got us interested in looking at stands.

In our review of iPad cases, we had looked at a few with integrated stands. Many readers had commented that they would love to see a Best-Of-Breed series on separate stands specifically designed for the iPad. The response to our first Best-Of-Breed series was so positive that... [more]-iPad Stands: Best Of Breed


Sep 17,2010 - PorscheFest 2010...

Porsche is a world-famous brand and their customers are fiercely loyal to it. It is not because the cars are trouble-free. We would call them ...finicky. What's more, the parts are costly and can be hard to find, and the are repairs difficult to perform. So why the enduring popularity? Regardless of vintage, Porsche autos all have a similar look. Within any given model, there are no radical redesigns, abrupt u-turns, or strange departures year over year. This is obvious especially whenever there is a bunch of them in one place. Design cues from one model to another are clearly evident. Changes are subtle, evolutionary, and logical. This, above all else, may be the secret to Porsche's enduring brand loyalty...they LOOK like they are part of the same family. If you own one, you are part of the "family."

The Boston branch of the "Porsche family" gets together every year in September at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum for a lawn event called PorscheFest. We have been attending this fun gathering for the past few years. The crowd seems to be getting bigger and bigger each year. It may have been the... [more]-PorscheFest 2010


Sep 16,2010 - Fein MultiMaster FirstLook...

Our 2010 Fall project will be to repair and paint the trim, deck, and stairs of the front entryway to the RainyDayMagazine office. We have been putting off the project because nobody wanted to do all of the work (sanding, scraping, etc...) needed to prep the exterior. To get the interns excited (or just out of their chairs), we decided to entice them with a tried and true motivator ...labor-saving power tools!

At the end of Spring, we made a quick mention of these oscillating tools. We are new to the multi-tool category. Apparently, this is true for quite a few readers as well. Judging by the emails, many were eager to learn more about the Fein MultiMaster. There are a few different configurations to the MultiMaster line. The tool is the same. The only difference is... [more]-Fein MultiMaster: FirstLook


Sep 15,2010 - Stainless steel pulls...

The handles on the doors and drawers in the RainyDayKitchen have always been a bit too "antique-ish" for our taste. As handles never wear out there was never a good excuse to get rid of them, other than just aesthetics. Stainless steel handles are typically around $6.50 online and can cost up to $13 in stores. Even though it would only cost a few hundred dollars to change them out, it just seemed frivolous to spend money on handles when there are other more important things we could use it for. However, when the interns (who seem to spend more time surfing Craigslist than actually doing their job...or IS that their job?) found an ad from someone selling thirty stainless steel handles for $40, our interest got piqued.

The ad had just posted that day, but a deal this good would not last for long. We did a quick count of how many we needed ...thirty-two, including the pulls in the two bathrooms. Hmmm...could work. The only thing we needed to check was... [more]-Stainless Steel Drawer Pulls


Sep 14,2010 - Slappa PhotoLocker FirstLook...

RainyDayPhotography readers know we are VERY particular when it comes to protecting our equipment. We take our gear on the road with us all the time...and some of the places we go don't really have roads. Kata and Pelican have proven themselves to us over the years. However, while we are particular, we are not closed-minded. We are always open to those who can bring fresh ideas to the market.

Slappa made a name for itself with iPod, CD, and laptop cases. They were able to raise above the others in a crowded and competitive space because of their unique designs, quality of materials, and superior protection afforded by their cases. We have had direct experiences with Slappa's cases and have found them to be worthy. So when we heard Slappa has expanded in to making camera cases and bags, we were... [more]-Slappa HardBody PhotoLocker: FirstLook


Sep 13,2010 - Satechi ProGrip FirstLook...

When we posted our FirstLook of the Yongnuo wireless timer a few weeks ago we got emails from a few readers who told us about Satechi Battery ProGrip. The emails almost got the "file for later review" treatment because we had already done a few reviews of third-party Nikon battery grips (D40, D90). However, one of the interns took a closer read and realized why we should always pay attention when our readers take the time write. Today, other RainyDayMagazine readers will see why we decided to review it.

The Satechi unit for the Nikon D90 arrived in house last week. Like the Phottix Premium grip, the Satechi ProGrip grip can house two Nikon Li-ion batteries, comes with a 6AA battery cartridge, and a... [more]-Satechi ProGrip: FirstLook


Sep 10,2010 - Homedics Restore FirstLook...

At the start of the Summer, we gave a quick mention to an interesting water filtering system named Restore from HoMedics. This water-purification pitcher uses an activated-carbon filter similar to many others on the market. However, they have one notable feature not available in any other system, a built-in germ-killing UV light source. Today, we'll take a RainyDay FirstLook at the HoMedics Restore system.

The HoMedics Restore clean water system is made up of a few simple elegant parts: 8-cup pitcher, filter, lid, AC adapter. The pitcher is visually appealing, feels substantial but not too heavy. The handle is rubberized and very comfortable to grip. At the base of the handle is a switch for the two modes: Purify, and Fill. The pitcher is bottom-heavy as the circuitry for powering the UV bulb is in the base of the unit. There are two steps to the Homedics Restore process: activated-carbon filtration, and UV light sterilization. Water to be treated goes into the... [more]-Homedics Restore: FirstLook


Sep 9,2010 - Installation and plumbing...

The stainless steel sink we got weighs around ten pounds, much lighter than the iron/porcelain sink it replaced. The edge of the sink has a bit of a bow so when it's locked down, the lip will be flat against the countertop. When we removed the old sink and fitted the new one, we figured it would be a simple matter of installing the clips to lock down the sink.

We, of course, had not thought at all about how the clips work. We knew they must clip onto the edges of the countertop, but did not appreciate (until we actually tried to install the clips) that if the anchor rail of the sink is inserted into a groove in the countertop, the clips would not be able to grab onto it. Doh!!! This realization meant we had to remove the offending particle board instead of just... [more]-Sink Upgrade: installation and plumbing

Sep 8,2010 - Cutting and fitting...

When we removed the old sink the extent of the damage from the rust was plain. We also understood why the rust problem had developed in the first place: the original installer never bothered to seal the rim of the sink (which would have prevented water from seeping underneath the sink). There was no caulking under the lip of the sink at all. Over time, the lip gradually rusted from the moisture and crumbled. We are not sure if the installer forgot or was just too lazy to bother. Either way it caused a lot of damage to the surface and to the exposed particle board.

We cleaned it the best we could, but some of the stains might be permanent. Most of it will be covered by the lip of the stainless-steel sink, but some of it may be visible. BTW, if you were wondering why we... [more]-Sink Upgrade: cutting and fitting


Sep 7,2010 - Sink removal

The sink in the RainyDayKitchen has been looking worse and worse these last few months. We have been saying since March "We NEED to replace the sink," but we did not get around to this project until now. We first thought this was a "drop-in" job, but then realized it would be a LITTLE more complicated than that. So we kept putting it off in favor of easier tasks. Finally, we could not put it off any longer and had to get in there and JUST DO IT.

The interns cleared off the counter and emptied out the cabinet underneath. We thought the project would not take longer than a day (six hours), but blocked out two days just in case we ran into any problems. The project had the following tasks:

  • Turn off the water to the sink
  • Turn off the electricity to the disposal
  • Removal of the old sink (disconnect disposal, disconnect hot/cold pipes, lift out sink): time estimate - 1 hour
  • Install new sink (apply caulking, insert sink, install sink clips): time estimate - 1 hour
  • Install new PVC pipes (measure, cut, fit): time estimate - 2 hours
  • Reconnect disposal: time estimate - 1 hour
  • Reconnect hot/cold pipes: time estimate - 1 hour

The first task was to remove the sink. Milo took a look and said, "Disconnecting the disposal, the hot/cold water pipes, and the drainage pipes from the sink all seem pretty straightforward, but Dude, there is no way I'm going to... [more]-Sink Upgrade: removing the old sink


Sep 6,2010 - Visionary Lenses: Wild colors

Our newest (to us) pair of Oakley Juliet sunglasses was procured in July. The pair came with a few issues but we were able to fixed it up quick with parts from the Oakley store. We were all set to replace the lenses when we discovered that Visionary Lenses have added some new colors to their line up. So we decided to put the brakes on the lens-upgrade project until after we had a look at VL's latest offerings.

We are so glad we waited. What arrived in the mail last week was a batch of brightly colored polarized lenses. Polarization blocks glare off of flat surfaces like snow, water, and road. If you have a pair of Oakley Juliet frame and want to amp up its performance and head-turning factor, you NEED to... [more]-Visionary Lenses: Wild Colors


Sep 3,2010 - Wild and Zen

We are huge fans of photography books from Rocky Nook. The two we recently added to our ever-growing library of Rocky Nook photography books are The Wild side of Photography and Zen and the Magic of Photography. These books are pretty much at different ends of the creative spectrum.

The Wild side of Photography is a collection of different projects from seventeen different photographers, each with their own unique perspective on creativity. The book covers unusual themes such as experimental focusing, spherical panoramas, camera hacks, etc... If you want crazy, it is... [more]-RockyNook: Wild and Zen in photography


Sep 2,2010 - Remote timer for Nikon D-90

Time-lapse photography is an interesting way to capture certain types of events. The idea is simple: take a photo every so often to see the progress of something occurring too slowly to be observed in real-time. Time-lapse photography is also useful for capturing: images under very low light conditions; images of the night sky; or creating special effects.

The Nikon D90 camera has built-in timer functions, but its timing capabilities can be vastly extended with the use of an external timer. Nikon does offer a wired remote timer/controller (MC-DC1), but we find that remotes from many 3rd-party vendors offer more flexibility and setup options. A corded timer will work with a specific camera, but a wireless timer can work with... [more]-Nikon D90 wireless timer FirstLook


Sep 1,2010 - Vacuum Belt Replacement

The Eureka Capture+ vacuum cleaner served us flawlessly for almost three years. The vacuum cleaner is excellent on furniture, rugs, and bare floor. We use it weekly to clean up after our interns. The other day, a groaning noise started emanating from the front sweeper/roller. Since no smoke was coming from the unit, we kept using it. However, the noise got louder and louder. Something was clearly straining to do something. We switched off the unit, unplugged it from the wall, and gave it a once over. Nothing seemed to be the matter visually. So, we plugged it back in, turned it on, and heard a loud snap. OK...now we did it.

We switched off the vacuum and back on. The noise was gone, the motor appeared to be running, but it just wasn't vacuuming up anything. It turns out the belt connecting the sweeper to the drive wheel had... [more]-Vacuum Belt Replacement


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